NVIC Vaccine News

Dr. Joseph Mercola Interviews Dr. Lawrence Palevsky About Vaccination and Health

By Dr. Mercola
Published October 06, 2012 in Science

To View the Full Interview, please click HERE!


Dr. Lawrence Palevsky is a board-certified pediatrician who uses a holistic approach to children, wellness, and illness by incorporating nutritional science, environmental medicine, chiropractic, osteopathy, and other natural healing modalities in his pediatric office in New York.

He has also worked in pediatric emergency medicine, pediatric & neonatal intensive care medicine, and in-patient pediatric medicine.

He is one of the leading pediatricians in the United States that advocates a more conservative approach to using vaccines.

I first interviewed Dr. Palevsky back in 2009 and am now happy to share our most recent discussion, which covers some incredibly important information for parents and pediatricians alike.

Questions We Should All be Asking…

Dr. Palevsky started out in the conventional medical field as an ER physician, then went on to become an ICU doctor, working in neonatal intensive care. As he gained experience, he realized there were "questions that I didn't have answers for," which drove his curiosity and pushed him to explore Chinese medicine, Ayurvedic medicine, chiropractic, naturopathy, herbology, and other philosophies and healing modalities to use with his patients.

A major turning point came for him in 1991, when New York state passed a law mandating that every newborn get a hepatitis B vaccine. Dr. Palevsky continued:

"It was the first time that I saw vaccines being used for a disease that really wasn't present in the newborn or infant population. All the other vaccines that I had learned about came on the heels of a massive wipeout of disease of different populations. The vaccine was developed after the disease had occurred, but this was one of those preemptive strikes.

It made no sense to me that we were vaccinating a population that really had little to no risk of having a disease. I started to wonder what was really going on…"

Several years later, a patient's mother brought up the fact that there was mercury in vaccines, which he wasn't aware of. This, too, prompted Dr. Palevsky to wonder what else is in vaccines, and as he started to explore package inserts, the manufacturing process and the adverse effects of vaccines, he realized there was much more information to learn than what he had been taught in medical school (which was that vaccines are safe and effective, end of story).

He said:

"I did not turn my back when I heard parent after parent – in the dozens, in the hundreds, and then in the thousands – start to say that their children were fine, then they got vaccinated, and then something really bad happened to them acutely or within days, weeks, or even months. Those parents were told 100 percent of the time by the conventional medical system, 'It's a coincidence. It couldn't possibly be related to the vaccine.'

As a person who's curious about science and questioning, it became obvious to me that there may not be a coincidence here and that something more may be going on.

The literature is pretty supportive of the fact that vaccines have much greater adverse outcomes on the genotype of the body, the immune system of the body, the brain of the body, and the intracellular functions of the body than we are willing to tell the public about."

Proper Vaccine Safety Studies Have Not Been Conducted

Vaccine proponents have stated that there are over 20,000 studies that "prove" the safety of vaccines. But a closer inspection of those studies would likely reveal otherwise. Dr. Palevsky explained:

"…in order for us to really delve into those studies, we have to look at who supported the studies. What was the study design? What were the control groups? How big was the actual number of kids or adults that was used in those studies? I think we will see that in most of those studies, the actual safety has never really been proven.

One of the reasons that I think we can fairly say that is that the vaccine manufacturers and the conventional medical organizations have not done studies that compare vaccinated to unvaccinated children. In order for us to really know if children who were vaccinated are having an adverse effect from a vaccine, we have to use a placebo group that's given an injection of maybe normal saline to evaluate whether or not they developed the same symptoms that children who were vaccinated may develop after they're injected with the vaccine.

Those studies are not done. They're not done because the conventional medical system says it's unethical to leave kids unvaccinated for any length of time. But, most of the vaccine safety studies that are being done last anywhere between one and four weeks anyway. The kids are followed within those one to four weeks. Then, they're not followed in a very detailed way to recognize whether any of their health outcomes could be related to the vaccine that they got one to four weeks ago.

What ends up happening is they compare the incidence rates of these vaccine reactions or these symptoms that kids get after they're vaccinated to how often those symptoms are seen in the general population, to check and see if this vaccinated group is in any way getting an increased incidence of these symptoms than the general population would get. But the fact of the matter is that the general population is vaccinated, so they're comparing a vaccinated group with a vaccinated group."

On top of that, the studies are not nearly long enough to show what the long-term implications of vaccinations might be.

"…they are not following children long enough to know whether in three months, six months, three years, six years, or 10 years, there could be some autoimmune antibody or some immune challenge that happens to the body that lingers or that just sits there as a genotypic effect. There's a change in the genetics, there's a change in the DNA, that doesn't necessarily manifest itself until years later because of other stressors, perhaps even from another vaccine that comes years later," Dr. Palevsky said.

None of those studies have been done, so I don't know how you can say that vaccines are safe.

…We're not looking at the micro-molecular levels to see, 'Okay, was there an autoimmune antibody produced? Were there other inflammatory markers produced? Where did those markers manifest? Did they stay in the body? Did they manifest into clinical symptoms? How are they relevant?' None of that science is being done. But we're just saying that vaccines are safe, because we've been doing it for so long. And anyone with a good scientific mind would say that's not adequate."

The World Isn't Flat…

There are increasing reports of pediatricians ostracizing patients that disagree with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) one-size-fits-all vaccination schedule. Some pediatricians will even resist answering your vaccination questions or concerns, or "fire" you as a patient and tell you to seek care elsewhere.

While most pediatricians enter the profession because they have an enduring love for children, many also firmly, and somewhat blindly, believe that there's no room for questions or disagreement regarding vaccinations. They, unfortunately, have not followed the path that Dr. Palevsky, myself and many other physicians have taken in seeking to look beneath the surface at the deeper issues.

Dr. Palevsky continued:

"These adherents are the same people that said the world was flat. This is the big problem, because the world isn't flat. Science evolves. What parents are finding, some physicians are finding, what a lot of scientists are finding is that the science is changing, that science is growing. It's growing to actually show things that we thought we knew are no longer as valid. 'The world was flat' was a very hard concept to accept, until 'The world was round.' I think that's the same thing that we're dealing with here.

That's why parents are being fired from their pediatrician's office: because the world is flat, and there is no possibility that the world could be round. I feel for these families, especially in areas where there are very few physicians for them to go to and to have care for their children."

A "Novel" Idea: You May be Better Off Getting Some Diseases in Childhood

The issue of vaccines potentially causing adverse reactions in the body is one issue. Another, often-overlooked, one is that some of the diseases vaccines are used to prevent may actually have a place in childhood – and may ultimately be beneficial for the child's future health.

Dr. Palevsky explained:

"…many of the illnesses that we vaccinate against are actually important illnesses for children so that their immune systems, nervous systems, and brains mature. I learned this back in the 1980s when I was a medical student being taught by physicians who practiced pediatrics in New York since the 1940s. What they said was that the kids in their practice who would get their measles, mumps, chicken pox, rubella, and flu illnesses, if they were left to their own devices, not medicated, and just left to be supported through their illness, after the illness was over, the physician always saw a developmental growth spurt.

What it speaks to is an understanding of virology, why viruses actually exist, and what they actually do in the body. They're meant to actually help protect the host, to clean the body out of waste, and to remove obstacles for optimal cellular function. This is what we're supposed to learn in medical school, but don't necessarily.

There are so many ways to support a child through many of these childhood viral illnesses… Many of them or most of them are actually pretty benign. They may not be benign in areas of the world where there's poverty, poor nutrition, poor sanitation, and war, which means that the conditions are not viable for optimal healing. But in a community of the United States where optimal healing is pretty reachable and pretty obtainable, most of these diseases are pretty benign."

The measles is a classic example, as in many cases it causes fever, runny nose, cough and rash, but clears up in a few days without serious consequences. In rare cases, however, measles can lead to encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) that can be serious and lead to deafness or retardation… and this was the impetus for developing the measles vaccine. But as Dr. Palevsky explained, what actually happened was that cases of encephalitis increased dramatically after the vaccine was introduced:

"…When it was said that the reason the measles vaccine was implemented in 1963 was to prevent against the massive cases of encephalitis that occurred as a result of slow viral re-ignition of a measles infection months or years later, I went into CDC. I looked it up to see what was the incidence of subacute sclerosing panencephalitis or SSPE.

It showed that it was .0061 percent. There was .0061 percent incidence rate of encephalitis after measles infection. Well, that's not a massive number of cases of measles encephalitis.

But now, we have one in 88 children with autism, and it is pretty well documented in the literature that one of the hallmark pathologies in autism is brain encephalitis or brain inflammation. One in 88 is 1.14 percent brain inflammation or 1.14 percent encephalitis. We've now gone from a .0061 percent encephalitis after measles infection to a 1.14 percent encephalitis rate in children.

Now, I don't know how much measles vaccine plays a role in that, but we have more cases of brain encephalitis after vaccination than we had before we started the measles vaccine. So, how successful are we in reducing some of the bad side effects of the diseases?"

What to Do if Your Child Has a Viral Illness

If your child does get sick, your first inclination may be to go the emergency room. This should be done immediately if your child is:

  • Not alert, responsive or interactive
  • Has a change in mental status
  • Has a change in urine output
  • Not breathing
  • Skin color is gray or blue
  • Limp or lethargic
  • Under 3 months old with a fever

If these signs are not present, and your child is stable, Dr. Palevsky suggests the following:

"…one of the most important things that a parent can do is to stay with the child, so that they can monitor the progression. This is because things can change immediately… stay with the child. If the child is breastfeeding, breastfeed the child. If the child is not breastfeeding, hydrate. The best thing you can do for a child who's sick is to hydrate with either room temperature water or broths. If they eat chicken, a chicken broth. Again, nothing that's too strenuous.

I believe in what's called a starvation diet for kids when they're sick. Mostly because they're in such a state of stress that blood flow to the gut is diminished during a state of stress. Therefore, digestion is less efficient in their bodies.

Really keeping the food to a minimum – almost starvation. Really keeping it to broths, teas, soups, clear liquids, and observe. You want to keep the hydration going, open up the kidneys, allow for the flushing of fluids, and put them in warm baths, which will help to relax them and which will encourage bowel movements, which again is another way to get rid of wastes. Most of the reason that kids get sick is to move or get rid of wastes anyway.

The idea is to not put more waste in. You don't want to overfeed them. You don't want to over-stimulate them. You want to keep them in a room that's darker, that has less noise, less sound, and less visual input. You want to really lower the amount of information and activity that's feeding the nervous system and that's feeding the digestive system. And you watch. You continue to watch. You stay with the child. Studies will show that if the parent actually holds the child and breathes with the child, the child's breathing pattern will synchronize with the parent, and healing will occur faster.

…It's really a matter of supportive care, and this is old school. I mean, this is the way in which the pediatricians who taught me took care of their families in the 40s and 50s. They would sit next to the bedside of kids in their homes when the kids were sick. Obviously, physicians can't do that as much, but the parents can. And there are ways to stay in touch with the physician to make sure that things are going properly.

But families in my practice will see shorter durations of fever, shorter durations of illness, if they don't interfere with the body's physiology to get rid of the wastes from that illness, and if they don't overfeed the children, and keep things quiet."

How Can You Legally Opt Out of Vaccines?

Download Interview Transcript


All 50 states have enacted vaccine laws that require proof children have received certain vaccines in order to attend daycare, middle school, high school and college. However, in most states citizens currently have the legal right to opt out of using vaccines.

All 50 states allow a medical exemption to vaccination (medical exemptions must be approved by an M.D. or D.O.); 48 states allow a religious exemption to vaccination; and 17 states allow a personal, philosophical or conscientious belief exemption to vaccination.

The National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) recently completed a review of all state laws, so for more detailed information, please see the NVIC State Law & Vaccine Requirements page. However, also be aware that vaccine exemptions are currently under attack in every state because the wealthy and powerful Pharma/Medical Industry lobby is trying to take them away, especially the religious and philosophical or conscientious belief exemptions. In the video above, Barbara Loe Fisher explains tips for opting out using the religious exemption, and Dr. Palevsky shared his advice as well:

"Every state in the United States has a medical exemption on the books, but the physician actually has to be willing to admit that what the child developed was related to the actual vaccination. If the physician writes that medical exemption, it may not exempt the child from other vaccines, because the physician may not be willing or capable of extrapolating that other vaccines might have similar effects being that that one vaccine or that set of vaccines had those effects.

It can be very difficult… Many times those exemptions are being rejected, because somebody in the state – who never saw the kid, who only has an opinion, and may not even know the literature completely – is going to reject it.

…There are about 19 or 20 states in the United States that have a philosophical exemption. What that philosophical exemption means is that the family has a conscientious belief that this is not a safe injection for my child… Then there's the religious exemption. The religious exemption is on the books in 48 states. West Virginia and Mississippi are the two states in the union that do not have a religious exemption as well as the philosophical exemption.

But the religious exemption is coming under increasing attack in different states around the country, because people are being challenged about their religious exemption. They're being challenged about the sincerity and the genuineness of their personal religious beliefs. The parents in this country are not necessarily made aware that they have a philosophical exemption in 19 or 20 states and a religious exemption in 48 states to not get their kids vaccinated.

Then what happens when people are told that they have this option, they'll often say, 'But I'm not religious.' The thing is that the religious exemption – as I understand it – is not about belonging to a specific religion. It's more about your beliefs between you and your higher power – God, Buddha, Allah, you know, whatever higher power each person has. It's a way for people to come to their spiritual beliefs that the injection of these materials would be a desecration of what their higher power has created. And it is against their spiritual or religious belief to desecrate that which their higher power has created.

That's really the lines upon which the religious exemption should be used. Again, I've had families who actually came to their religious exemption through an understanding of the problems and the literature. They did their soul searching and their spiritual searching and found that, in fact, they now have this new belief that they didn't have before. That's what's available for parents in this country."

Joining the Critical Mass for Change

What we currently have is a one-sided policy; a single way of thinking that makes constructive and meaningful debate virtually impossible. Science is truly a field where you ask a question, you find an answer, and you make an ongoing effort to eliminate biases that could shed more light on the reality you are trying to reveal. We are not seeing that with vaccines.

Because the proper safety studies simply have not been performed, and there are many unanswered questions about vaccines' impact on a growing number of serious health conditions, you might be questioning their use yourself.

If so, you can have an open and honest conversation with your physician about your concerns. In both my and Dr. Palevsky's cases, it was a patient who first broached the topic that there could be more to the story. And if enough people speak up, we can reach a critical mass of the population that will prompt real change.

If your physician is not open to change, resources for finding a more supportive physician, and learning more about vaccination choice in general, include:

Think Globally, Act Locally

While it seems "old-fashioned," one of the most effective actions you can take to protect the right to informed consent to vaccination and expand your rights under the law to make voluntary vaccine choices, is to get personally involved with your state legislators and the leaders in your community.

Mass vaccination policies are made at the federal level but vaccine laws are made at the state level, and it is at the state level where your action to protect your vaccine choice rights will have the greatest impact.

Signing up to be a user of NVIC's free online Advocacy Portal at www.NVICAdvocacy.org gives you access to practical, useful information to help you become an effective vaccine choice advocate in your own community. You will get real-time Action Alerts about what you can do if there are threats to vaccine exemptions in your state. With the click of a mouse or one touch on a Smartphone screen you will be put in touch with YOUR elected representatives so you can let them know how you feel and what you want them to do. Plus, when national vaccine issues come up, you will have all the information you need to make sure your voice is heard.

So please, as your first step, sign up for the NVIC Advocacy Portal.

Internet Resources

I also encourage you to visit the following web pages on the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) website atwww.NVIC.org:

  • NVIC Memorial for Vaccine Victims: View descriptions and photos of children and adults, who have suffered vaccine reactions, injuries and deaths. If you or your child experiences an adverse vaccine event, please consider posting and sharing your story here.
  • If You Vaccinate, Ask 8 Questions: Learn how to recognize vaccine reaction symptoms and prevent vaccine injuries.
  • Vaccine Freedom Wall: View or post descriptions of harassment by doctors or state officials for making independent vaccine choices.



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6 Responses to "Dr. Joseph Mercola Interviews Dr. Lawrence Palevsky About Vaccination and Health "
Commenter Name
mark richards
Posted: 10/6/2012 11:20:14 AM
Dr. Palevsky offers a brilliant and clear synopsis. Bringing "do no harm" into the discussion humanizes the medical side of the equation, something that I find difficult to do given the stridency, yet something that is necessary to prevent a total breakdown of trust and communication between parents and their medical caregivers. It is most unfortunate, and dangerous, that the stridency I reference has taken on a political angle. There is ignorance, and then there is institutionalized ignorance. The latter is reaching a critical mass that must be confronted before it exceeds a tipping point. Dr. Palevsky is to be commended for his courage and actions from a clearly kind heart that are behind his work on this issue. The Dr. Palevsky's of this culture are a rare breed. We owe these physicians our utmost respect and appreciation.
Commenter Name
Moshe Dekel, MD
Posted: 10/7/2012 5:01:28 PM
Great interview with one of the finest holistic pediatricians in the US. This should be on page one of all major news papers and media outlets.
Commenter Name
Ron Cully
Posted: 10/9/2012 12:46:45 AM
Thank you SO much for speaking out on this important topic. People are so blinded by the conditioning we get at school, on the news via the CDC, from phara cos, and doctors. But when I looked deeper and I saw the lack of details supporting the view on the CDC and I saw the CDC data actually showed the vaccines may not be effective (recent info on the whooping cough in WA State showed 97.6% of cases were people with 3 or more vaccines). This is so engrained in people that people don't want to believe there could be such a massive missrepresentation of facts and think anyone who speaks of this as a nut. To hear such well regarded physicians expose this is fantastic!
Commenter Name
Graham Wadd
Posted: 12/21/2013 3:11:47 PM
Very much of interest to me as an Australian Child Health nurse who has seen many reactions directly related to vaccines, especially in the early years of vaccination. So many practitioners of mainstream medicine have denied any connection. Why then are parents relating their personal stories of changes in their children in these vaccination circumstances. We do need to understand more the future implications of insults/disease on the developing immune system. When these children get older is there any relationship to the dramatic increase to the now common autoimmune diseases we are seeing in adults? Big questions as raised in the article have been unanswered in the research available. Enjoyed the discussion and questions raised.
Commenter Name
Posted: 9/26/2015 2:32:37 AM
it all."It doesn't matter what your pubeishld studies say. It doesn't matter what your press releases say. What matters is the real life experience of parents all over this country and all over the world. And that experience is, that we took our healthy, bright babies into a doctor's office for routine vaccinations and watched our precious children regress physically, mentally and emotionally and be left autistic, hyperactive, learning disabled, epileptic, asthmatic and suffering with other brain and immune system disorders."You have no interest in what science has to say. You are concerned only in promoting your agenda. Of course it is tragic when a child suffers from autism or any other significant developmental delay.Unfortunately, there is no one to blame.You are a danger.
Commenter Name
Posted: 12/1/2015 8:13:44 PM
I am a registered nurse who was alwyas a proponent of vaccinations. I had five children who were all vaccinated with no noticeable consequences. Last Monday my granddaughter had her six month check-up and received all the recommended vaccines including the DTaP. Hours after her injection she suffered clonic tonic seizure activity that resulted an apneic spell witnessed by my daughter. My son-in-law performed CPR and the baby was taken to a hospital via ambulance.There is no question in my mind that a vaccine harmed my grandbaby.She had all kinds of tests from a spinal tap, CT scan of her brain, blood tests, urine cath, followed up the next day by a complete exam by a neurologist and an EEG. All tests were negative. She had a temperature of 100.1 when she arrived in the emergency room.I know that if my daughter had not witnessed her daughter's seizure, my grandbaby would be a SIDS statistic.I am reading everything I can and talking to people I know who have children damaged by vaccines. Who is protecting our children?Thanks for your fine articles.Btw, when the pediatrian was notified of the incident, he stated it was odd two of his patients receiving vaccines that day had had seizures. If my granddaughter has any permanent damage from a vaccine, my heart will be broken forever.
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